31 Mar 2015
I don’t usually pay much attention to cigar peripherals. But some, like the extraordinarily detailed band on EPC’s La Historia, simply demand closer inspection. The Signature’s band (above) is one of those.
An eye-catching white background showcases old-style lettering reminiscent of a nineteenth century poster, raised printing and varied typefaces, sealed with an illustration of Punch and his dog. A standout on any tobacconist shelf.
The cigar itself is also quite a fine specimen. The wrapper is smooth, oily, and displays no large veins.
This addition to the Punch lineup is getting a big push from General Cigar. There are lots of ads, giveaways, and an interactive website.
The Signature cigars for this review were supplied by General, which sent me five Robustos. They have an MSRP of $6.79 and measure 5 inches long with a ring gauge of 52. There are three other sizes: Gigante (6 x 60, $7.39), Torpedo (5.75 x 52, $6.99), and Rothschild (4.5 x 50, $5.39).
Mindful of the smokers these days who want to know not only details of the blend but the story of the cigar as well, General provided considerable information in its press release. Blender Agustin Garcia says the Signature was inspired by the original Punch blend. Work began in 2012 when he “found a small batch of Ecuadoran tobacco they wanted to use” and teamed with a grower to produce enough of the Corojo wrapper leaf to ensure fulltime production.
The Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers are those used in General’s original Punch blend, with some having been “very aged” and others younger. “The aged leaves bring flavor and balance, and the newer leaves deliver more strength,” according to the press release. The binder is a proprietary Connecticut Habano.
I have to say I didn’t find the Signature as enjoyable as some of the others, primarily due to a sharpness that scratched at the back of my throat for much of the cigar.
Throughout the stick, there was little change in the flavors, and what there was just wasn’t enough to hold my interest by the halfway point. Smoking farther down, though, did offer a reward: By the final third, the sharpness was finally almost gone and that was the most enjoyable part of the cigar.
Signature is certainly not a bad cigar. Construction, as you’d expect from General, is spot-on with an even burn, tight ash, and lots of smoke production. I did find the draw a bit loose and, after a straight cut on the first, used a punch or a V-cut for the others, which helped.
I would certainly recommend giving the Signature a try. For me, the Punch Signature Robusto rates three stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys